Alabama vs Cincinnati Prediction, Pick, Cotton Bowl Playoff Odds, Broadcast, Live Stream, TV Channel

The 2021 college football playoffs are finally here, and the action kicks off Friday with No.1 Alabama against No.4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, just outside Dallas. The Crimson Tide aim to repeat themselves as national champions, while the Bearcats make history Friday as the first group of five to step onto the field in a CFP game.

Alabama made their way to the top of the final CFP standings, crushing Georgia 41-24 in the SEC Championship game behind a sensational day from Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young. On the other side, Cincinnati burst onto the field after finishing a second straight regular season unbeaten and winning the American. The Bearcats needed a little help from Big 12 champion Baylor to defeat two field-making SEC teams, but now have a Group-Five’s first chance to win a playoff game.

Alabama and Cincinnati have played five times with Tide winning all five matches. However, none of the clashes have taken place since 1990. Bearcats coach Luke Fickell is 48-14 in five seasons with eight of the losses occurring in a first year of transition. Cincinnati has never won a national championship.

Alabama vs Cincinnati: Need to Know

Make history: As the 2021 season approaches, no Group of Five team has ever finished higher than 7th in the final standings. After finishing a second straight undefeated regular season, Cincinnati finally broke the glass ceiling to become the first non-Power Five team on the field. The Bearcat’s reward for making history? A showdown with the greatest dynasty in the history of college football. Cincinnati has never won a national championship, while Nick Saban has won three in the playoffs alone.

Sauce versus speed: Perhaps the best game of all the playoffs will be away from home. Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams nearly beat Georgia single-handedly in the SEC title game, but he faces his toughest test yet. Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant won the Thorpe Award for America’s best defensive back – and NFL first-round pick Ahmad Gardner is even better. Especially with WR John Metchie out, Williams against the corners will determine if Alabama can pull away.

Heisman Bryce: For the fourth time since 2009, an Alabama player returned home with the Heisman Trophy. Second-year quarterback Bryce Young is Bama’s first signalman to win the sport’s ultimate award after throwing for 4,322 yards and 43 touchdowns in his first year as a starter. Young was magnificent against Georgia’s top-ranked defense, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns while adding 40 rushing yards and one scoring. Cincinnati will have to fight to put pressure on Young without hiring additional defenders; Young’s completion percentage drops from 75.5% in a clean pocket to 47.8% when the pass rush comes home.

NFL Talents: Although Cincinnati is a Group of Five team, there are legitimate NFL talent at all levels. The Bearcats have two players ranked among the top 51 players in CBS Sports’ NFL Draft Prospects – Gardner at No.17 and defensive lineman Myjai Sanders at No.51 – the same number as Alabama and Michigan. Bryant is also projecting himself as a third-round pick, while quarterback Desmond Ridder, running back Jerome Ford and several others could make their way into Day 2’s picks with solid performances. Cincinnati won’t be intimidated by sheer talent.

How to watch Cotton Bowl live

Game: Cotton bowl
Dated
: Friday December 31 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Site: AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
TV: ESPN | Direct: fuboTV (Try for free)

Cotton Bowl prediction, pick

Featured Game | Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

It’s easy to tell why the line is two touchdowns – it’s Bama vs. Cincinnati, for god’s sake. However, this confrontation is much closer than the brand names would suggest. The Tide have real advantages on the outside and an NFL-caliber quarterback on offense to deal with the ravages. Either way, expect the game to come to a close as the Bearcats have plenty of NFL players on their side, including Ridder and the two starting cornerbacks. Prediction: Cincinnati (+13.5)

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